A Prayer for Christian Maturity
Last week we saw together that the Apostle Paul had three great overarching passions that truly guided his life. He showed us that what we treasure the most will control our lives. His treasure was first and foremost, the Lord Jesus Christ. Next, he treasured those who were also consumed with a love for Christ; we called these folks Paul’s Gospel Partners. Finally, we saw that His passion was also for the Gospel and its proclamation.
Our conclusion was that to bring the most glory to Christ, we too should have these same passions. We should treasure the same things that the Apostle treasured.
The best way for Paul to bring glory to Jesus Christ was to train others so that they too could have a vital relationship with Christ. He also realized that his life would not last forever and if his flame was extinguished who would carry the torch to the next generation if he didn’t train others to follow the Lord.
He gave the young church in Philippi some basics to focus on and we too are recipients of Paul’s apostolic wisdom. We must notice that this text comes to us in the form of a prayer for the believers in Philippi. Of all the things Paul prays to see accomplished in the lives of these saints, he prays for these things. That should tell us that these things are vital to a maturing faith. Continue Reading
Paul’s Three Passions
Philip. 1:1-7 (ESV)
Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus,
To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you,  always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy,  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.
Paul is passionate about three things in this text. All three things are directly related to each other. If we are to live the Christian life to the fullest, we too should have passion when it comes to these three things. He’s not passionate about his health or comfort. The miserable setting in which he is now residing is a pit of disease and suffering. He’s not passionate about his current financial situation because he has given up everything as a missionary. Paul isn’t passionate about his Jewish credentials; in fact, later on he would call his resume basically a resume of rubbish. In no achievement or standing or status is Paul passionate. At the end of the day there were three things that kept Paul going and gave him hope. As he sat in prison these three things kept his spirits up. These things were why Paul was there and what he lived for. Continue Reading
Those Who Make Up the Church
As we saw last time, Paul founded the Church of Philippi on his second missionary journey. Luke, the physician, was a part of Paul’s team on that first visit to Philippi and so was young Timothy. After things were stirred up because of Paul casting out a demon from a slave girl, he was asked to leave the city by the authorities; Paul left Luke in Philippi to strengthen the work and headed west to Thessalonica. During three weeks of difficult ministry in that city Paul, several times, received material assistance and encouragement from the new believers in Philippi. Paul moved on through Berea and Athens to Corinth where he was to remain a year and a half. During his time in Corinth he again received financial help from the Philippian believers. After returning to Jerusalem, Paul set out on his third missionary journey. The major purpose of this tour of the Gentile churches was to raise money for the relief of the poor in Jerusalem.
During this time, the controversy concerning the Judaizers was in full swing. You might remember that they were the Jews who came in after Paul was gone to try and convince these new Christians that Jesus Christ wasn’t enough. They taught that it was Jesus plus works of some sort; Jesus plus circumcision or Jesus plus observing the Jewish customs or Jesus plus a tradition. They were perverting the true Gospel. Continue Reading